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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 10, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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connections to the justice department. we are going to have that story for you tomorrow night at this time. i hope that you will tune in for that. i think you will find it interesting. i also want to tell you, in light of this very interesting reporting that has just come out from "the wall street journal" since we've been on the air tonight, that it is an area of particular interest for investigators right now that trump's business dealings are sort of rising to the top of the heap for areas of focus and concern for investigators. there has been a big change in terms of what we know about the investigation on trump business matters. an important thing related to trump business matters was confirmed by director james clapper in his senate appearance on monday. we've also now got an interesting request from the senate intelligence committee to the treasury department in their financial crimes unit in terms of moneylaundering and any connections they've been able to turn up with trump and his business dealings. that part of it, the financial side of it, the business side of
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it appears to be driving subpoenas now around mike flynn. both from the senate intelligence committee and from u.s. attorneys offices in virginia -- u.s. attorneys office in virginia. th issue about business ties, potential money launders is also going to be the subject of a very special report on this show tomorrow night. i'll see you then. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." lawrence, i'm sorry to take 40 seconds of your program. tonight saying that the director comey told associates, these are words that he used after president trump accused president obama of having wiretapped trump tower. comey according to "new york times" told associates that the
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president was, quote, outside the realm of normal, quote, even crazy. so there is the director of the fbi being quoted by people who he spoke to saying the president of the united states is, quote, crazy. using that word about the president of the united states in the aftermath of what we all called crazy that saturday morning tweet madness about president obama wiretapping trump tower. >> and it is one thing for the word crazy to be used as any ad homonym epithet. >> it's one thing if i use it. >> or any of us. coming from the fbi director who apparently people he spoke to now feel free to share those things that he came to believe about the president in his one-on-one interact was the president, now that the president has fired him, that's a different magnitude. >> and rachel, you don't have a firing like this, you don't have a day like this at the fbi yesterday, a day like no other fbi has gone through. you don't have a day like that without producing comments like
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this. you are going to shake loose the leak tree. and this is whether james comey wants this kind of stuff leak order not, people who feel strongly about this are going to make these kinds of things known. >> yeah. you don't -- there is a reason when people have incriminating stuff on you, those interest people you avoid firing. those are the people you keep close. those are the people you bribe and don't threaten because you don't want the make enemies of people who are in a position to out you. for stuff that they've got dead to rights. and we don't know if that's the situation here, but that's a general principle of life from the playground to the ceo office to politics. >> great reporting during your hour, rachel. really important. thank you so much. >> thank you. well, well, it is all real now. you can ignore the speech
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making. you can ignore the press briefings, especially the white house press briefings. always ignore those. you can definitely ignore the tweets. you can ignore all of that. because now, now it's subpoena time. this is the day that the trump white house was hoping would never come. subpoenas are the nuclear apons political life. and no one in politician who has ever received a subpoena has ever had a worst day than the day that subpoena arrived, unless, unless that person ended up as a criminal defendant. and then that person had a lot of worse days. and that could be the fate in store for president trump's first national security adviser michael flynn, who at 6:30 this evening was hit with a subpoena from the senate intelligence committee demanding that he deliver documents relevant to
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the committee's investigation into russian interference with the 2016 election. general flynn has refused to cooperate with the investigation in the senate. and so tonight he and his lawyers are staring at that subpoena, wondering whether to comply or to plead the fifth amendment. because replying to that subpoena could incriminate him in criminal activity. the day after president trump dealt with fbi director james comey the way vladimir putin would have, russian officials publicly joked about the american government's predicament of having had its democracy attacked by the russian government. and those russian officials joked about it on the way in to a meeting with the president of the united states. where the russian ambassador and the ruin foreign minister were
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better received than germany's chancellor merkel, who is actually an ally of the united states. nbc's andrea mitchell asked russian foreign minister sergei lavrov if the comey firing would cast a shadow over his talks with the president today. and the russian foreign minister standing in the state department beside our secretary of state decided that would be a perfectly good place to mock the united states, the day after the man leading the investigation of russian interference in our election was fired. >> does the comey firing cast a shadow over your talks, gentlemen? >> you're kidding. >> following his meeting at the state department, foreign minister lavrov had a meeting far above his pay grade. the foreign minister's pay grade in the secretary of state. that's not the same for the russian foreign minister who as of tonight is the most favored
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foreign minister in the portland by president trump. president trump welcomed the foreign minister into the oval office along with the russian ambassador, sergey kislyak. it was conversations with kislyak that got miked flynn fired. former acting attorney general sally yates rushed to the white house to warn the white house council about general flynn's contact with ambassador kislyak and possibly other information. today michael flynn is not allowed in the russian office anymore, but the russian ambassador is very welcome. after meeting with the russians, president trump welcomed the press core where he was meeting with henry kissinger who served as secretary of state to president richard nixon, the most disgraced president in american history. a president driven from office on the eve of impeachment for crimes committed in the room where henry kissinger was meeting with donald trump today. >> why did you fire director comey? >> because he wasn't doing a
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good job, very simply. he was not doing a good job. >> did it affect your meeting with the russians today? >>xcusme? >> did it affect your meeting with the russians today? >> not at all. >> thank you. thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you. >> will the new director of the fbi be in charge of the russian investigation? that question will be asked tomorrow at a senate russian intelligence meeting where the acting director of the meeting andrew mckay will appear. nbc news reported today that the senior congressional official with direct knowledge told nbc news that james comey briefed congress in recent days that he had requested more staff and money for the russia investigation from deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. and dianne feinstein, the vice chair of the judiciary committee told reporters today, quote we know there are subpoenas being requested in the eastern district of virginia, and that
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this investigation has been going on. i just want to correct that. she is not the vice chair of that committee. that committee doesn't have a vice chair. only intelligence committees have vice chairs. she is the senior ranking democrat on the judiciary committee. now those subpoenas being issued in a criminal investigation, they're being issued in a criminal investigation. they're not congressional subpoenas. the federal prosecutor. and those subpoenas are even more chilling than the subpoenas issued by congress. because as a federal criminal investigatn, we have mucless information about those subpoenas. well don't know who is meeting with their lawyers tonight, trying to evaluate the possible criminal liability they might face in responding to those subpoenas. in the eastern federal district of virginia. just across the river, across the potomac river from washington, d.c. vladimir putin was asked today about the firing of james comey. and he seemed as happy as we
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have ever seen him when asked about u.s.-russia relations. >> how will the firing of james comey affect u.s.-russian relations? >> there will be no effect. >> your question looks very funny to me. we have nothing to do with that. president trump is acting in accordance with his competence, with his law. >> joining us now, john heilemann, co-author of "game change", joy reid, host of am joy weekendsed on msnbc. james boot, a former defense policy adviser for romney 2012.
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joy, reid, this latest report tonight out of "the new york times" quoting jamesomey telling ases, th's h it's defined in the article, mr. comey told associates that the president is outside the realm of normal, even crazy. joy, that's james comey being quoted using the word "crazy" in relation to the president of the united states. >> yeah, and the white hat version of the comey tale has always been that he was not somebody that was a partisan hack out to get hillary clinton, but he really sort of sees himself in this grandiose fashion as this dudley do right character and he was diligently and aggressively working on the russiagate case. you have to remember, the fbi is an incredibly compartmentalized organization. the criminal and international division by design do not communicate with one another. it's not surprising and particularly people in the white house where some of the targets might be didn't know what he was doing.
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but all the sources we're hearing even from the scuttlebutt if you talk to people with national security background is that he had a real investigation going, there were these grand juries swirling around. he was working with u.s. attorneys. he was getting close. and i think the evidence that he is getting close is that he was fired by donald trump. >> a lot of reporting going on now where anonymous sources talking about how things are working on both sides of this story. the justice department pushing back, saying there was the last meeting that comey had with rosenstein was may 1. there was no discussion of resources. of course, there are other ways to request resources other than verbally face-to-face in a meeting. john, as you see the statements coming out, comey saying the president is crazy, more reporting by the hour, we can expect more of this by the day and by the hour with all of the sources who have been loosened
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up by the firing of jim comby. well, look. first i'd say on the first claim, it in fact, not only have i done this kind of reporting in the past, spending a lot of time lately for various projects i'm working on now. and i'll say if james comey were asking for more funds from the deputy attorney general from rosenstein, the way in which he would do it would not be directly and not do it in a meeting. it would be done by deputies, probably done on paper. so the fact when they last had their face-to-face meeting is utterly irrelevant of him requesting additional sources. we have reports that this investigation was ramping up. "the wall street journal" reporting that comey had gone from weekly briefings to daily briefings on the russia trump probe there is a million signs -- not a million, but many, many signs that this investigation was serious and it was ramping up. i said on television, that the main person that donald trump had to fear in washington now was james comey. and partly because of the thing that joy just talked about is
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that comey's reputation is that of a pillar of rectitude. he felt had been damaged by the notion, the accusations that the things he did last fall that ended up benefitting donald trump, hurting hillary clinton, that they were in some way motived by partisan preferences. and sipping on he has been on this question of trump and russia more and more like a dog on a bone. i think he was someone who posed a great threat to the administration, maybe more than any other single person in washington, d.c. until yesterday. >> max boot, i'd like to get your read of howhings played out at the white house today, today of all day, the day after the president has fired the person in charge of the investigation of russia's interference in our election, and then the russian foreign minister given the extreme vip treatment at the white house along with the ambassador. and while at the same time, or similar time of the day, vice president pence is very quietly meeting with ukraine's foreign minister, assuring ukraine of continued u.s. support.
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but what the world saw was donald trump welcoming the russians into the oval office. possibly even triumphantly from the perspective of this is the group that interfered with the election that then produced president trump. >> well, i think it's fair to say, lawrence, it was a pretty surreal scene at the white house today with the grip and grin with sergei lavrov kind of giving him this victory lap in the oval office, and kind of announcing that russia is back and a big player. but this whole thing is beyond surreal. this is the first time in history we've had the fbi investigating the president of the united states and his aides for possible collusion with a hostile foreign power. and now it's the first time that you've had a president who was fired an fbi director who was investigating him. i mean, this to me seems like prima fascia evidence of obstruction of justice.
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"the wall street journal" and the times the fact that president trump fired comey, it hadding in to do that he was upset about the things that comey said last year about hillary clinton. that's ridiculous. clearly, he was upset by the fact that comey was investigating connections between the trump campaign and the kremlin. and trump seems to think there is some cause for concern here. because every time this issue flares up, he freaks out. and this is his latest freak-out. and in the process, it's possible that ultimately he has done himself in here. because he has finally presented a case that can be taken for impeachment, obstruction of justice. but unfortunately, that's only going to happen or there is only a possibility of it happening if the democrats take control of congress in 2018. because the unfortunate part of
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this for me is how supine most republicans have been with a president who is tampering with law enforcement, who is tampering with kind of the bedrock of the american political system which is the rule of law. and some republicans expressed concern, but almost none are willing to back an independent council or a special committee to look into this matter. so they're basically accepting that trump is going to get away with what he is doing. which to me strikes me -- and i say this as somebody who is a life-long republican, is outrageous and is something that needs to be exposed. >> joy reid, all of the reporting we have has been consistent from "the new york times," politico, to "the wall street journal," all of the backstage reporting about how this occurred, how this firing occurred, it's all ascribed to the president's attitude to the way comey has been approaching the russia investigation. and all of the sourcing for that comes from inside donald trump's administration. >> right. and the reporting says donald
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trump didn't consult a wide circle of people before he did this. he caught many of his own staff, his own team unawares. and in addition to the other problems we just heard laid out, donald trump has forced his team to tell two lies that are pretty easily provable if the democrats -- they're actual t republicans are absolutely kneeling. the lindsey grahams and the john mccains of the world, they talk a good game. they don't do anything. but they told two lies that democrats could liz puncture by putting both james comey and mr. rosenstein under oath. they have accused james comey of telling donald trump three times that he is not under investigation. donald trump put that in writing under his own signature in that letter firing james comey. the second, he has now had even the vice president of the united states repeat this claim, they was mr. rosenstein who initiated the firing of james comey. it was his idea that he brought the idea to the white house. and then the white house turned around and had him go ahead and
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execute it. if mr. rosenstein has even half the self-regard that comey does, i find it hard to believe he is going to sit in front of a senate hearing and lie for donald trump and take credit or blame for this firing when every ngle piece of reportg as you justaid, lawrence,ays it was donald trump who initiated this firing of james comey. this obstruction of justice, quite frankly. >> we're going to have to get a break in here. but before we do, i want to identify the next firing in the trump administration. this is dana shell smith. she is the u.s. ambassador to qatar. she tweeted today increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home knowing i will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions. we're going to have to take a break here. max boot, thank you very much for joining us tonight. john heilemann, we're going to need you in a later segment. please stay around. we have the entire hour now of breaking news coverage coming up on this situation. joining us next, congressman jim
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hines. shea member of the house intelligence committee. he will join us with his reaction to the news of the subpoenas tonight. the subpoenas are the biggest news development since the comey firing. (burke) at farmers, we've seen almost everything, so we know how to cover almost anything. even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you. [burke] and we covered it, november sixth, two-thousand-nine. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ doctors recommend taking claritin every day distracting you? of your allergy season for continuous relief. claritin provides powerful, non-drowsy, 24-hour relief. for fewer interruptions from the amazing things you do every day. live claritin clear. every day.
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one one of our major adversaries in the world decides to try to impact the choice of leader of the free world, the united states should stand up, take notice, and fight back. let's not forget that this is all happening less than one week after a hacking attack on another democratic election in france.
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you said you want the russian investigation to continue at doj. will the white house oppose the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue to look into the investigation? >> we don't think it's necessary. you've got a house committee, a senate committee and a department of justice all working on this. i don't think that there is the a necessary need at this point to add that you've got the deputy attorney general who i would say is about as independent as it comes due to the fact that he has such bipartisan support. >> he doesn't have bipartisan support anymore. here is what the democratic vice chair of the senate intelligence committee said about rod rosenstein on this program last night. >> i voted for this gentleman based upon his reputation in maryland. but i am deeply disappointed. and if i could have that vote back, i would be voting in a different way.
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>> today senator warren joined the richard burr in announcing that the committee has issued the first subpoena, that it has issued since its joint investigation of the 9/11 attacks on the united states. senator burr and senator warner said the subpoena requests documents relevant to the committee's investigation. the committee first requested these documents on april 28th. 2017 letter to lieutenant general flynn, but he declined through counsel to cooperate with the committee's request. joining us now, connecticut democratic congressman jim hines. he is a member of the house intelligence committee. congressman, what is your confidence level now in rod rosenstein as the deputy attorney general? you just heard senator warner say if he had a chance to vote on that confirmation again, he would vote against it. >> yeah. i think the answer to that question, lawrence, really depends on what the deputy attorney general does next. my own belief, reading his
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memorandum, which was a pretty unusual memorandum for somebody high up in the justice department, citing news source and op eds and everything, my sense is this decision to fire comey came right out of the oval office, came quickly. and the deputy attorney general drawing on the fact that there was a lot of legal controversy over comey's behavior put that together quickly. but going forward, here is the question. does he support and does he ultimately appoint an independent council? though my republican colleagues aren't there yet, whatever you think of the president's decision, the signal that was sent inside the fbi about what happens when you're serious about an investigation, what it could mean for your career and the appearance of the investigated being fired by the investigator, if the deputy attorney general advocates for and appoints an independent council, that's how we'll know if he is acting independently or not. >> councilman, we know through reporting and sources that the
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deputy attorney general was called up to the white house to meet with the president and the attorney general on monday. this memo was then written the next day. and so the notion that the deputy attorney general had been working on this on his own is absolutely untrue. and now proven to be untrue. and so what more do you need to be suspect of the motivation in writing these memos? >> you know, sitting as i do on the house intelligence committee, we've seen this sort of chaos after another uncomfortable moment. so sally yates appears in open hearing and basically establishes that michael flynn was the national security adviser of the united states of america while it was known inside the white house that he was potentially compromised by the russians. 18 days sitting in very, very sensitive meetings. and my own theory is that the president's head explode, just as it did weeks ago, almost
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months ago now when weed that open hearing on the house side when comey announced the investigation in the first place. remember what happened right after that open hearing? all of the sudden all the other open hearings were canceled. chairman nunes made his midnight run to the white house. the white house orchestrated this unbelievable two week or three-week period which almost derailed the house investigation. now amidst all the chaos and the questions and the weirdness of this moment, i think this was the white house trying to derail the fbi investigation, which i will tell you as a congressional investigator is something that to some extent we were rye rest lying on for no other reason we don't have two, three, four investigators the way the fbi does. >> there is much more pressure on your investigation. now a lot of us have been saying that the fbi was of course the strongest, most empowered investigation. now we have reason to doubt that. but the senate intelligence committee has invited comey to come and testify next week in a closed hearing. would you hope that the house
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intelligence committee also invited him to come back and tell more of what he knows? >> you know, i'd love to see. here we have these competing hearings with sally yates. i'd love to see this effort come together so we can drag these people in front of congress once. but absolutely. i'm interested in hearing from comey. now he can, for example, answer a question which is certainly burning on my mind which is my god, did you really tell the president of the united states three times that he was not subject to an investigation? that in and of itself would be wildly unusual for an fbi director to do. why an fbi director would talk to an individual who is at least campaign is under investigation we know that to be true. boy, the questions that come out of that alone. and then by the way, let's follow that up. as you pointed out earlier with the deputy attorney general. just ask the man exactly what happened leading up to the firing of the fbi director. this moment in u.s. history that is unprecedented where somebody under investigation fired the lead investigator. what exactly happened? those are hearing i would certainly hope to be part of.
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>> we hope you get to ask those questions. congressman jim himes, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, now there is something else that the republicans are getting yelled at about in town halls. >> we need an independent prosecutor. we need a bipartisan select committee. when are you going to decide to be an american and not a politician? it's over. i've found a permanent escape from monotony. together, we are perfectly balanced, our senses awake, our hearts racing as one. i know this is sudden, but they say: if you love something... set it free. see you around, giulia ♪
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oh, there is -- he has become more famous than me. >> director comey. [ applause ] >> nothing worse than becoming more famous than donald trump in trump world. according to several reports today, donald trump had been angry at james comey over the fbi's russia investigation for weeks before his firing. politico reports that president trump would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe. one adviser said trump had grown angry with the russia investigation, particularly comey admitting in front of the senate that the fbi was investigating his campaign and that the fbi director wouldn't support his claims that president barack obama had tapped his phones in trump tower. according to "wall street journal," president trump viewed mr. comey as eager to step in front of tv cameras and
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questioned whether his expanding media profile because warping his view of the russia investigation. back with us, joy reid and john heilemann. and joy reid, the president was worried that james comey was on tv too much and it was going to his head. >> that's the wrong guy to worry about that, right? jim comey's ego might be pretty close to donald trump's in size and scope. i have to say, have i this feeling, and i think there was one of the stories, i can't remember which one that the moment that really set donald trump on fire was when comey stead he was mildly nausea by the idea, made mildly nausea of the idea that maybe he helped elect donald trump that is the cardinal sin for donald trump who ask super sensitive about his election. and the idea that comey wouldn't have been proud about helping elect him, he couldn't take it anymore. >> and comey meant that as a nonpartisan response. i think he would have given the same response if the other was hillary clinton. the idea that he could have affected an election.
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i want to go to something that reuters is reporting that is very important, saying attorney general jeff session and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein had wanted a heads-up from comey about what he would say at a may 3rd hearing about his handling of the investigation about hillary clinton's e-mail serve and so forth. and john, that looks like the deputy attorney general reaching in to james comey's territory in a very uncomfortable way for comby. >> yes. in a way that has wide by been considered by tradition and custom to be inappropriate also. comey is, as we've been discussing is a man who cares a lot about his image. he also cares fiercely about the fbi. the justice department the home of the fbi. it's an interesting relationship. the attorney general is the fbi director's boss. at the same time, over time, it is the case that the fbi basically pursues its investigations in an independent way.
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and certainly comey would have thought that trying to give a heads-up of that kind to this attorney general and to this deputy attorney general would have been inappropriate because it would have been driven mostly by politics and not by law enforcement concerns. you know, look, i think one of the most interesting things is about to happen because of the fact that comey cares so much about the substance of this investigation, also about his image. he is a master of working the press. he's got a lot of contacts in the media. so do his allies in the fbi. and they anticipate very soon we're going to finally start hearing what that investigation was actually getting at. we now know a cover-up is in play. we don't know what the cover-up is of. but i think we might start to get some clues pretty soon. >> and joy, the big suspense is will james comey accept that invitation to testify at the senate intelligence committee next week. now it will be a closed hearing. so we won't get much out of it. but if he says yes to that, that's going to be the most interesting closed hearing of the year.
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>> and i would anticipate there will be weeks out of that. at this point, people are scrambling for their own personal positions around this issue, around russia-gate. donald trump is scrambling, his staff. there is even reports that bannon was on the other side of this idea of firing james comey because it's such a distraction. this is chaos, lawrence. this is a chaos presidency. but it definitely feels like we're coming to the point where we going to find out substance. that's why donald trump is panicking. he is panicking because clearly he understands that this is series and information is coming out and it's going to lead right back to his door. >> john heilemann, this was handled so badly by the white house. patiently many people in the white house assuming it would be well received. and some reports indicate that steve bannon was one of the cooler heads saying we should slow down. this isn't good typing for this. when donald trump looks at the way this whole 24 hours going into 48 hours, the rest of the
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week has gone, who are going to be the winners and losers inside the trump white house over this? >> well, let's see. i mean, there is one question about sarah huckabee sanders who is out there now for sean spicer, how will she handle herself over the course of the week. she seems to be getting -- i know it's the case that spicer is doing naval reserve work this week. but it seems like she might be getting a trial run behind the podium. if she does a good job in trump's view, maybe she'll end up staying there. the other idea is why did they miss what you alluded to, lawrence, which is the obvious fact that the reality is there were many democrats who are very angry at james comey last fall and continue to be. many democrats who thought that comey behaved both in july when he first talked about not indicting hillary clinton and then again in october when he wrote the letter and reopened the case, that they thought he behaved wildly inappropriately. but the fact that they didn't understand did not mean that democrats would not applaud him being fired given the fact that he had announced he was investigating trump's ties to russia, the fact they didn't understand that is just a
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horrible act of political malpractice and a lack of understanding of capitol hill and the opposition party. so i don't think anyone in donald trump's white house who is advising him on that will look like a real goat at the end of this week. >> and by the way, lawrence, they have given them a message for 2018. you heard max boot say it before. the only way donald trump gets held accountable with a supine democratic congress is if the democrats take over one or both houses. that's all the democrats need to put together a campaign for 2018, telling the american people only you can stop this president. republicans won't do it. it's a tailor-made campaign, probably even democrats could do it. . >> joy reid gets the last word for this segment. joy reid, john heilemann, thank you both for join us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, someone who has been there before. someone who worked in a white house that collapsed in scandal. president nixon's white house counsel will join us.
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why? >> no. a lot of us are still puzzled as to the timing. >> joining us now, elise jordan, former national security official for president george w. bush and a speech writer for secretary of state condoleezza rice. she is also an msnbc political analyst. elise, all eyes on republicans. they're the party in power. their reaction to this is what's important. it's what's going to determine what happens next certainly within the congress. we hear kind of some soft dissent from the white house on this. john mccain saying there should be a special congressional committee. but where is it going? we see some action in the town halls about it now. what are you anticipating? >> i'm anticipating that for now, republicans are just trying to grasp what exactly is going on and what's going to be the political damage of really hitching their wagon with donald trump. i think it's really telling that senator mccain called for the special committee. and also representative of justin amatch has called for an
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independent investigation and called the letter that president trump gave to comey upon his firing just bizarre, because that's what it was. it was bizarre. you see these two republican congressmen whose foreign policy views are opposed. john mccain and justin amash who is a libertarian and very principled in those views. and you have both of them coming together and saying hey, something is amiss here. we really have to put principle over party. and i think there perhaps the first wave. i would like to say i'm optimistic that more republicans are going to follow their example. but i really -- i think that this is going to be probably divided pretty strictly down partisan lines. at least in the near future. but as more information drips out and the trickle starts and the leaks have already started, you look at 30 sources in that "washington post" story tonight. there are a lot of people who know a lot of what's been going on with this scandal. and i just don't see it stopping any time soon. >> and we do have some
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republicans asking for more information. ben sasse, who is the chairman of a judiciary subcommittee asking the justice department, wants the deputy attorney general to give more clarity about why james comey was fired. jason chaffetz sending a letter to the inspector general, wanting the inspector general to review why comey was fired. so they are pushing for some inquiries at the justice department level. >> i think that's what republicans need to be doing. you know, all americans deserve more information about what exactly is happening. and, you know, as we see this investigation ratchet up with respect to former national security adviser general mike flynn, that's another area that americans are watching and they want accountability. they deserve accountability. and to know what is happening when it comes to president trump's campaign and potential collusion with russia. >> elise jordan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. we really appreciate it. >> thank you. up next, our long national
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member of the trump club of suspects, men who we have a right to suspect might consider loyalty to donald trump more important than loyalty to the constitution. a month after president ford took that oath of office, he pardoned richard nixon. richard nixon accepted the pardon knowing acceptance is the equivalence of a admission of guilt. president nixon said that the way i tried to deal with water gate was the wrong way is a burden i shall bare every day of the life that is left of me. john dean was in the thick of that drama when he was president
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nixon's white house counsel. he was there as the white house descended into darkness and criminal conspiracy. he knows what a white house in collapse feels like and john dean delivered the single most memorable line of testimony. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency and if the cancer was not removed the president himself would be killed by it. >> john dean will join us next. the smoother the skin, you are in it. so find a venus smooth that contours to curves, flexes for comfort, and has a disposable made for you. skin smoothing venus razors. venus
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there is a clear and present danger of a cover up. this firing has very much the look and feel of an effect to stop or sometimy an investigation or interfere with it. >> they fired an fbi director looking at guess what? the white house and if it that loop is proven, that's 96 ownian.
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>> joining us now former white house counsel for president richard nixon. you hear this word, nixonian and i wonder what's john dean thinking? does it feel like 1974? >> it echoes of 1973, 74, '72, the whole period. it's not identical but there are too many similarities to become comfortable. >> tell us what it's like inside a white house as these stories are moving along. the white house is being protective and has all the same shape as the stories emerge where at first there were answers. he's the white house answers, here's the administration answers. and then the answers gets thinner and thinner. and what's happening inside? >> the staff is the last to know
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and they're realally somewhat at a loss. there are key players ininvolved. >> what do you mean they're the last to know? >> there's a grapevine in the office that operates. but the white house doesn't get new briefings what the president's going to do. >> they were the last to know. >> and so there's a lot of angest on that staff right now. and a few players who are close and aware and counseling and somehow involved in the dialogue with the president they know. but that's a small group. >> the recent reports of the president increasingly isolated. these reports sound like the nixon reports of much later in the process. meaning much closer to the end. we're that very beginning of the trump presidency hearing reports that echo the end of the nixon presidency. >> it's bazar, no question. you got to recall that water gate ran 900 days from the it
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time of the arrest at watergate to the last trial. >> this is the summer of the 1972 presidential campaign. there's an arrest of a burglary that appears to be a politically motivated burglary against democrats. >> from that moment to the end of the last trial which is 1975, that's 900 days and nixon leaves well before then. it's a long scandal. today we're just at the very beginning and the noises -- of course things are more accelerated today. news cycles are faster. >> there's more suspicion today because the nixon administration at least had the advantage of nothing like this had ever happened before and people were much slower to use words like impeach. >> before waterigate they were given the benefit of the doubt and he's got to get busy.
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he's making himself look worse rather than better. >> there's always -- how do you advise the guilty client if it the guilty client is the president? you have this problem. you knew at a certain point as white house counsel what the president was going to be exposed as being culpable for. where the worst tape was going to be. >> we didn't know -- no one knew the taping system was running and i years later went through all those tapes to hear when he really did know and he knows within the first week of course. but he's playing it very differently with the staff. he pretends to me -- i don't start until eight months in do i start dealing one on one with him. >> and you're trying to get him out of this mess, you're trying to make him realize how big the problem is. you were saying things to him which were similar to what you
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were about to say about president trump that he has to come clean and clean this up. what if nixon knew he couldn't clean this up? >> that's the real sore here because if trump could make this go away, if this was fake news, he would do so and he could do so in 48 hours but he can't obviously. so that's why it looks like a cover up. it is a cover up. that's what's going on. >> what would you advise people like don mcgan, old white house counsel. >> he's hired 26 lawyers. he's got a very sophisticated shop running right now. he's got people from some of the best law firms in the country. they didn't come over to really get into a mess. it will be interested to see what the white house counsel does. what was cleared up. with water gate is he doesn't represent the president himself as a person.
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they represent the office. so they have a real professional responsibility to make sure the office of the president is protected. they're in a very tough role right now. a very tough role right now. very tough. >> if you're working in the white house, if there is anyone you want to listen to on television, it is john dean. he has the lessons for you. john dean, thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. "the 11th hour with brian williams" starts right now. tonight why was james comey fired, and why now? and how long was this in the works? new reporting on what was going on in the west wing at this hour. plus mike flynn subpoenaed by the senate intelligence committee after refusing to hand over documents related to russia. speaking of which, the two sergeis. the russians who visited the oval office today, photographed only by russian media. that was before nixon's secretary of state stopped by. and that's the


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